aw, c’mon… did you actually think the beav wasn’t going to gush over mr. steven osborne? how could i not?! don’t get me wrong – every single soloist the band flies in is an absolute wonder to behold (seriously). but sometimes the planets align and the program jives and you get a guy like steven in front of those 88 keys and, and… oh, my… miracles happen, i tell you, miracles happen. [the first sign of an extra-special night was mr. osborne eschewing a tux and donning an all-black mandarin (silk?) shirt procured at a place called ming fashion in singapore. yes, i asked him.] first of all, can we talk about his technique? i knew uncle benny’s piano concerto was chock-full of virtuosic moments for the soloist, but i’ve found it’s one thing to listen to a recording and quite another thing to actually witness someone make these wonderful sounds. during the second movement’s wicked waltz, though, i was forced to look away from this soloist, becoming quite certain that mr. osborne was unfortunately a cylon: in the world that i knew, no mere human could attack that frackin’ keyboard with such precision and speed. my fears were abated, however, with the arrival of the subsequent slow movement where steven’s emotions were on full display. the ivories were not so much tickled as caressed, and when his hands continued to lovingly flow up and down the steinway, i found myself thinking: jeez, get a room you two! after britten’s insane finale thundered to a close monday night, this scottish rockstar went above and beyond by treating the frenzied crowd to its (i’m 90% sure) very first encore of the classical season: some unsuspected jazz in the form of *things ain’t what they used to be à la oscar peterson. it. was. brilliant. risking a potential restraining order, the beaver tracked down steven for his post-concert reactions:
I loved working with the Oregon Symphony… a wonderful standard of playing and a great bunch of people. The Britten isn’t the easiest piece to bring off and they absolutely committed themselves to it. One thing that really impressed me was how responsive everyone was – when Carlos asked for something it absolutely happened. Not always the case with orchestras!
well, there you have it. amazing. while mr. stephen hough will forever reign at the high altar of my personal pianoforte pantheon, mr. steven osborne has just carved outta a nice little niche for himself. [i already have a work order in for his statue and i’m picking out the marble tomorrow.] faithful readers, join me in raising a wee dram of lagavulin (cause it’s gotta be peaty) ~ cheers to mr. osborne! xoxo cb